Pelvic Inflammatory Disease refers to the infection of the female reproductive organs. It usually happens from sexually transmitted bacteria getting into the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Your pelvic are is located below your belly button and between you hip. Its considered the lower part of your abdomen.
The Signs and Symptoms of PID
Usually, this condition has no signs and symptoms. This is why a lot of women don’t realize that they have it and they need to be treated for it. In some cases, the symptoms it creates mimics that of other conditions.
If signs and symptoms do occur, they might include:
- Painful and difficult urination
- Pain in the pelvic and lower abdominal area
- Pain and bleeding during sexual intercourse
- Abnormal uterine bleeding in between menstrual cycles
- Heavy vaginal discharge with a foul odor
- Fever and chills
In severe cases, extreme pain in the lower belly, vomiting, and signs of shock can occur.
Why It Happens
There are a lot of bacteria that can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases. However, two of the most common are chlamydia and gonorrhea.
They are able to get into the reproductive tract after engaging in unprotected sex. They can also happen after giving birth, having miscarriage or abortion.
A woman is more likely to develop it if:
- She is younger than 25 years old and sexually active.
- She has multiple sexual partners.
- She engages in sexual activities without using condoms.
- She douches regularly.
- She has a history of sexually transmitted infection and previous PID.
- She has a sexual relationship with a person with multiple sexual partners.
Diagnosing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Diagnosis is often made based on presenting signs and symptoms. Doctors may also perform a physical exam, urine test, cervical cultures, and analysis of vaginal discharges.
In a pelvic exam, doctors first check the pelvic region and look for the signs and symptoms of PID. They will take samples from the cervix and vagina and send the samples over to the lab to determine the exact organism that caused the infection.
For confirmation, doctors may also recommend getting the following tests:
- Blood tests to measure white blood cell count and markers that suggest existing inflammation
- Urine tests
- Tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases
After PID is confirmed, options to treat the condition will be discussed. Doctors will also need to take a history of sexual partners within the last 60 days and get them tested, too.
Treatment for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
The primary treatment for PID involves a combination of antibiotics to target more than one organism. While taking the medicines, the symptoms of PID should improve even before the infection is cured. The medicines, however, won’t be able to reverse any damage PID caused.
Even if the condition improves, the antibiotics should be taken and completed as prescribed. Therapy usually lasts for 10 to 14 days. Failure to complete the treatment can encourage antibiotic resistance.
It’s also recommended that partners should abstain from any sexual activity until the treatment is finished to avoid reinfection. If the partner is also infected, it’s best to get him or her treated as well to prevent re-infection.
If oral antibiotics don’t work or the symptoms don’t improve, additional tests may be needed to determine the reasont. Additionally, antibiotics may be given through intravenous fluids.
In such cases, hospitalization may be required. If there is persistent stomach pain, high fever, and vomiting, doctors will conduct further tests to rule out other conditions or infections
Complications of Untreated Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Without proper treatment, PID can lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant. This can happen when bacteria get into the fallopian tubes and cause inflammation and scarring.
Those scar tissues can block the passageway of an egg from the ovary through the fallopian tubes and the uterus. Apart from that, the scar tissues can also increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. It can cause massive bleeding which is a life-threatening condition that warrants prompt medical intervention.
Untreated PID can also cause tubo-ovarian abscess. It’s a condition where the ovaries and uterine tube become filled with pus. If not treated right away, it can lead to a life-threatening infection.
Now, this doesn’t mean that pregnancy may not totally happen after PID is treated. For women with a history of PID, they may undergo a minor surgical investigation called lap and dye test. This procedure involves the insertion of a small telescope below the navel.
A general anesthetic will be administered, putting the patient asleep throughout the procedure. A colored dye is injected into the fallopian tubes to check for any blockages and problems.
If issues are found, there are two options to consider. The first one is tubal surgery to unblock the fallopian tubes or repair any damage to the area. Another is in vitro fertilization.
Undergoing tubal surgery increases the risk of conceiving within a year. Most women, however, fall pregnant between 12 to 14 months following the procedure. If pregnancy still doesn’t happen, IVF may be the only solution.
How to Prevent Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
The most absolute way to prevent PID is to abstain from having sex. If that’s something that can’t be avoided, the following might help.
Safe sex practice
It is recommended to use condom for each time there’s sexual activity. There should be a limit to the number of sexual partners, too. Asking about a potential partner’s sexual history can also reduce one’s risk of PID.
Not all forms of contraception provide protection against PID. Birth control pills, for example, may help prevent pregnancy but they have no capability to provide a barrier against organisms that cause PID. Condoms are the most ideal method to use.
Get tested regularly
Make an appointment and set up a regular screening schedule for PID. The earlier it is detected and treated, the lower the chances of complications.
Douching creates an imbalance in the bacteria present in the vaginal area. The changes it creates promotes a more favorable environment for bacteria to grow and cause problems.